From the Dragon’s Mouth........
Autumn 2019 Newsletter
So what’s been happening at the Camp since our previous newsletter? The answer is, as always, lots! It was a busy end to 2018 and an even busier start to 2019!
The focus was on completing the Joss House and purchasing equipment for Camp events. This included
‘Dragon Marquee’ with the Camp logo on one side (see image below). It is 4m x 6 m with sides, making it suitable for any weather.
30 L hot water urn.
40 white plastic chairs.
....and loads more resources to enable the Camp to be set up independently and quickly for events.
The Hotel now has spouting attached to the south side, to help with rain water run off. Hooray!
Prior to Chinese New Year the windows were washed and the interior thoroughly cleaned. Chinese decorations were put up and a Visitors’ book and a photo book about the Hotel were put on display. These are now permanent displays.
The Hotel is an integral part of our Concept Plan and its restoration is a major focus of our fundraising campaign,
The Poon Fah / Joss House
The Joss House has been the biggest project to date, with Stage one now complete:
all exterior walls replaced, insulated and painted
interior painted ‘ poppy ‘ red and decorated with panels and Chinese decorations , scrolls and symbolic pictures
alter installed, along with Joss Sticks and candles
Many people who have visited the Camp recently have inspected the new look Joss House and have been impressed. Chinese visitors are bowing at the Altar!
Funding for the Poon Fah/ Joss House has come from the Poll Tax and Otago Chinese Southland Association (OSCA), with a top up from the Camp’s account.
A story about the history of our Poon Fah/ Joss House from 1869 to 2019 has been written by Adrienne Shaw. If you would like a copy please email Adrienne on firstname.lastname@example.org
The next Joss House project is to raise funds to install electricity , for an access ramp and paint the roof !
Thank you so much to all those who have donated money, either directly or through the Camp’s Givealittle page.
An application has been made with the Lotteries Environment Heritage Trust for funding towards our Feasibility Study. We should know more later in the year about the outcome. Contributors to this project to date are the Lawrence Lions, Ethel G Johnstone Charitable Trust , Poll Tax, OSCA, Dr Tak Hung , Jim Robertson , and Dr James Ng . An ‘Expression of Interest’ application has also been made to the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund.
A big acknowledgement to everyone else who has donated after they have visited the Camp – either on a tour or at an event. Fundraising is an ongoing activity in order to restore and maintain the Camp. Thank you!
This was completed earlier in the year and is under continual revision. It is a valuable document for the Trust to use for fundraising as well as informing people about what is happening at the Camp now and in the future.
Chinese New Year - ‘Year of the Pig’
Lawrence Chinese Camp celebrated this important festival on February 16th 2019.
Although the chilly weather proved challenging, visitors were hardy and they came to enjoy themselves! There was plenty to entertain the crowd with Lion dancers and Chinese dancers from Dunedin, a raffle, and kids’ activities such as a lolly scramble, kite making and a colouring competition.
The Pig oven produced tasty pork, served with huge dumplings, salad and sauce. Yum! As you can imagine, hot drinks were popular due to the weather.
Next year is the Year of the Rat.
Clutha District Council presentation
LCC Trustees Rachel Gemmill and Adrienne Shaw had the opportunity to give a presentation about future plans for the development of the Camp to the Mayor and 14 Councillors on February 21 2019. They showed the group the Concept Plan and artist’s impression, and talked about how the Camp will be of huge economic benefit to Lawrence and the wider community.
Future funding for the Camp will come from the Regional Growth Fund which is in partnership with the Clutha District Council and other funders .
Poon Fah Day March 9th 2019
This day celebrates the relationship between the Poon Fah / Joss House and the Wellington Poon Fah Association.
Our Joss House is the only original one in NZ and was part of the communal history of the early Chinese who lived in Lawrence, Dunedin and later Wellington.
Poon Fah Day came about as a result of discussions between Adrienne Shaw, Chair of the LCC Trust, and Lynette Shum from the Wellington Poon Fah Association. It was devised as a way for people to meet and inspect the Joss House.
People came from Wellington, China , Dunedin and everywhere else in between . Special guests were invited and the day was enjoyed by all. The weather was warm and pleasant, and there was a good mix of formal speeches, Lion Dancers and musicians.
The pork was cooked in the pig oven and lunch was served in the Dragon Marquee, with refreshments and wine donated by Three Miners vineyard from Clyde .
Guest speakers were Bryan Cadogan – Mayor Clutha District Council , Linus Chin - OSCA , Prof Richard Walter – Trustee LCC , Les Wong Dunedin and Charlie Ding - President of Wellington Poon Fah Association. Adrienne Shaw, Chair of LCC was the MC.
Community Consultation Evening
This evening was hosted at Simpson Park in Lawrence on 13 March 2019. Local people were invited to come along and inspect the Concept Plan for the LCC and future plans.
Feedback was noted and this information will be used when making funding applications.
Sam Chew Lain’s Tomb Project
This is one of the projects included in the Concept Plan.
Sam Chew Lain was the proprietor of the Chinese Empire Hotel and ran a boarding house in the Camp with his wife Amelia.
Grace Kerr Tie worked for the Chew Lain’s before and after she married Chow Tie. They celebrated their wedding at the Hotel in 1885 and Grace inherited money from Sam Chew Lain’s estate.
The Tomb is located in the Lawrence Cemetery in the Presbyterian section. Sadly it has lost its roof, windows have been smashed , the door has been removed, and the headstone smashed to pieces. It is proposed to restore the Tomb and protect it.
The Cemetery has been accorded Historic status with Heritage NZ. The Alloo family who descend from Amelia’s sister Margaret are supportive of the restoration.
The first step in this project is to apply for funding for a conservation report. The funding application and approval process is expected to take one year, then the restoration work will be able to commence in earnest.
Another similar project has recently been completed - the restoration of Larnach’s Tomb in North Cemetery, Dunedin.
Having initially being mooted at the Tie Family Reunion in 2017. this project has been completed. The Kerr family are buried in two family plots at the Waitahuna Cemetery. For 136 years their burial plots had been unmarked. Now they each have new headstones – a fantastic result! Thanks again to those family members who helped fund this project.
The Waikamete Cemetery plot of James Kerr who is Grace Tie nee Kerr’s brother , also requires a headstone, and this is something that will be embarked on in the near future.
Sing Lee Headstone
A descendant of William Sing Lee has approached Adrienne for help in arranging a headstone to be erected on an unmarked grave in the Catholic Section of the Lawrence Cemetery.
William Sing Lee was a miner and operated a boarding house. His descendant Norma Thomas is paying for the headstone in his honour and memory.
Australian Chinese Heritage Trip
Adrienne travelled to Victoria, Australia, to look at Chinese Heritage sites and museums. The aim was to understand what, why and how the Australian community displayed and marketed in relation to their Chinese heritage . Adrienne visited Melbourne, Beechworth, Bright , Myrtleford, Harrietville , Avoca , Bendigo and Ballarat . In each place she went to relevant museums, Chinese gardens , cemeteries , and Chinese cultural attractions. Adrienne also had meetings with the curators and operators of these attractions in order to bring the learnings and knowledge back home and consider in the context of the LCC.
While full details of the trip will be written in a detailed report , one thing that became evident to Adrienne is that the Lawrence Chinese Camp’s offering is both unique and descendant focused. If you would like a copy of the report contact Adrienne .
Keep Updated between now and the next newsletter
Follow developments and events on the Lawrence Chinese Camp Face Book page and on the website https://www.lawrencechinesecamp.co.nz
For other projects or wishing to donate and wanting to help the Camp , contact :